Diverse coalition sounds the alarm
I am fully aware of the term Dingleberry Charlie, in the UK it is practically in the dictionary. There is no universe in which Dave Chappelle is a dingleberry though, to my mind, so I strongly disagree with Tim there. Chappelle is a genuinely gifted stand-up. I would ask anyone to watch his George Floyd Special called 8'46 (it is on Youtube) and disagree with me. He uses comedy to tell uncomfortable truths, even if Tim does not like that. I thought the Bulwark was kind of in the uncomfortable truths game?
Tim, watch 8'46 and 'sticks and stones' on Netflix (and also the Closer, if you haven't already) and see if you can see a stupid grifter who does not believe what they say. I have watched his comedy for 20 years and I cannot see that person. I am disappointed that you can.
What in the world happened to Roger Kimball? Sad, sad, sad.
Love the letter on defending liberal democracy! Also overdue is a similar letter from college presidents, deans, and professors supporting free speech and the marketplace of ideas on college campuses. The letter should pledge no institutional punishment for, and in fact encouragement of, professors and students that express controversial ideas. Safe spaces from discomforting ideas are anathema to an intellectually vibrant college experience.
Mr. Ogden, you nailed the landing, so to speak. I’m recently retired, I literally watched the Watergate hearings live. My God, how far we have fallen. Bulwark team: please keep hammering on the vote counting/ certification issue. Vastly more important than the shiny objects the Democrats keep grasping for…
Enough with the Facebook moral panic already! George Will explained why this is foolishness clearly and succinctly on this very site:
I would be more than happy to sign as well. Attorney, political blogger, former college poli sci instructor and Republican activist who has held several positions in the party.
Since voting rights comes up in the letter and several comments, I wanted to add my two cents.
Democrats are railing against "voter suppression" laws passed by GOP-dominated state legislatures. Things like cutting back on earlier voting, elimination or reduction in ballot drop boxes, shortened times for asking for absentee ballots, a requirement that voters provide more identifying information to vote absentee, etc.
In reality those are tweaks to voting procedures that will have a miniscule impact on turnout, if that. The fact is in virtually every jurisdiction of the country it is much, much easier to get registered and vote than it was 20 years ago. These most recent changes do not come close to reversing that trend. Some of the changes even have turned out to be positive. Georgia, for example, ended up expanding early voting and adding a requirement that lines at polling places be monitored so that additional equipment be sent out to aid voters. Unfortunately, most of the reporting of Georgia's law was based on proposals that were not included in the final bill.
The whole debate over voting reminds me of the magician who encourages the audience to look at one hand while he is doing the trick with the other hand. Elections involve two distinct players: voters and vote counters. While everyone is focused on how these changes affect voters, they are ignoring changes to how votes are counted and certified. And I'm not just talking about changes in the law. I'm also talking about personnel changes. When the ballots come in you have teams of Democratic and Republican workers who count the ballots and confirm the results. Then you have elected officials who certify the work of these vote counters.
The whole system depends on people doing their jobs honestly, regardless of party affiliation. Trump's 2020 post-election coup attempt failed because there were a cadre of GOP officials who stood up to him and wouldn't engage in fraud to tip the election to Trump. Those people have been targeted by Trump and his minions. Most won't be around in 2024. The electoral guardrails have been removed.
The number one priority of Democrats in Congress should be fixing the Electoral Count Act which currently will allow a Republican Congress to override the will of the voters and hand the 2024 presidential election to Donald Trump. They need to fix the problems with the ECA and block state efforts to enact legislation to override the will of the voters. While I'm reluctant to deep six the filibuster on all matters, this is an area where I think a carve out is needed.
Is it too early at such a young age to elevate Tim Miller to the status of National Treasure?
I’d be glad to add my name to an open letter like this, as an emeritus professor of law (for whatever weight that title carries). Perhaps an addendum of some sort to this letter could be prepared and circulated by someone who knows the mechanics of gathering signatures and publishing? I believe the letter is important. It won’t change the minds of legislators or anyone who is toeing today’s Republican Party line. But it may sway the opinions of people who are sitting on the fence or who simply haven’t been paying much attention to politics in this non-election year.
I love the letter and completely agree that this is what we SHOULD be doing but i doubt our capacity to do it. And in the meantime, we are arguing about whether we need preK in an infrastructure bill while we are sorely lacking a strategy to confront extremism. This country is facing an unspeakable crisis - the prospect of a resentful, narcissistic, punitive leadership with an even more hateful, well armed battalion of outcasts at its beck and call. I have never felt this kind of anxiety about our country or my own future safety.
I do believe that passing voting rights legislation should be THE priority and perfection cannot be the enemy of the good, but time is RUNNING OUT and the Dems are determined to make the fight within their party be so acrimonious and public that the GQP doesn’t have to lift a finger.
Would it be helpful if we all signed on to the letter as well? I’m sure I’m not the only one who would like to.
You can draw a straight line from the embrace of conspiracy theorists like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Alex Jones during the Obama years to where we are today. The GOP mainstream has been hyping this up since *at least* 2008. It started to crest and become more visible and active with the Bundy Ranch/anti-BLM militias in Ferguson in 2014, but the roots of the madness that drove that nonsense came from none other than GB, RL, and AJ. Now any asshole with a YouTube account (looking at you Tim Pool) can crazify the right wing audiences because the culture is already baked in. They don't have to start from the ground up like their forerunners did.
Okay but now we need Senator Denim (WTF) & Senator Manchin to actually support Filibuster reform (even if it’s just for voting reform) because we know Republicans ain’t gonna do one thing to protect voting rights. I know I’m a big Sinema hater, but that’s just because of everything she does. Charlie’s podcast was great yesterday, but Sinema is the ENTIRE reason we are not overturning the Trump-era Tax cuts which increased the deficit by 1 Trillion. She finally got her fabulous ass plane back from fundraising in Europe just in time to kill the revenue stream in the Rec Bill and is now advocating this untested Billionaire Tax on investments. There are MANY articles about this. She isn’t a maverick, even tho she likes to cowboy cosplay on the Senate floor. She’s just plain f*@king with us, and I hate it. Links to the many articles proving my point :
If you can get Idaho's Senators Crapo and Risch to sign the open letter, I will gladly do what I can to support the "Defense of Democracy." They were quick to post a news release on January 5, 2021 for "Election Integrity", but perhaps not sot quick to speak out against the Insurrection of January 6, 2021. Can you really have it both ways?
While I applaud the sentiments expressed and the efforts of those who signed, it still amounts to an appeal to a 50-50 Democratic Senate Majority to get rid of the filibuster to pass federal voting rights legislation. You may as well appeal to voters to give the Democrats a filibuster-proof majority in the upcoming midterms, because neither is going to happen and we all know it.
What I want to know is what are any of the signators, or anyone, doing to bring together professionals from a myriad of fields to develop a cohesive, national and workable strategy to fight this threat to our democracy before it is too late. There are millions of Americans who will be happy to join the fight if provided the leadership to do so.
While the GOP is marching towards Authoritarianism they are all on the same page, implementing their strategy state by state, and they are mounting up victory after victory. How do we successfully counter the lies and misinformation? What messaging should we be using from all quarters to reach everyday Americans and make them care about what we're about to lose?
Where are the experts from academia, journalism, media, social media, advertising, marketing, the legal profession, national security experts, government, former politicians from any party, and a whole host of other fields?
Noble sentiments will not save us, and once today's GOP retakes the House, the Senate and the White House in the next 3+ years, they will turn every institution into their own weaponry. They will go far beyond trump's first term in using the levers of government to consolidate their power,. We will see the free press and political enemies attacked and jailed. The military and armed militias will be used against peaceful protesters. Americans will be afraid to say anything at some point because it will mean risking personal freedom, livelihood, and even death. And who will stop them then? SCOTUS? Doubtful.
This moment in our history is as dire as any I've ever seen in my long lifetime, but we need so much more than noble words and sentiments. We need a cohesive strategy and national leadership.
Who is willing to roll up their sleeves and do that work?
Add my name to that. Well done.
A fellow named Chris Arnade puts out a newsletter documenting his foot travels through American cities in the northeast in which he sometimes refers to himself and others further on up the socio-economic ladder as the Front Row, creating a rather handy and ( I think ) accurate dividing line between the lower middle class, working class and poor, and the upper middle, professional, moneyed and elite classes that make up our society.
Looking at the names and organizations in the open letter Charlie posted this morning, the list of signatories looks like it's somewhere on the near flank of Front Row, Center territory.
And as a working class blue collar guy sitting in some undesignated row a lot further back, I just want to say that although it wouldn't be of much weight, I'd be proud to add my name to that list if I could.
I see as I write this that some criticism has apparently already been offered..." Well intentioned, but...".
And this is in some ways no doubt true. But the letter spoken of here is not nothing. And what we've gotten from the Congress, the Biden administration, and the Democrats in the way of concrete, tangible results on the protection of voting rights and the liberal democracy those rights protect and preserve, is nothing but a whole lot of nothing.
It's a pretty simple equation for me:
voting rights kaput = pretty much everything else that matters kaput.
Where do I sign?